Pairing: Colby, Charlie/Amita (Cannon)
Warning: Spoilers for The Janus List, Trust Metric, Breaking Point, Scan Man, Angels and Devils
Summary: Colby’s been there, done that, got the t-shirt and is probably the best person to give Amita a bit of friendly advice after being rescued from a mad man.
Notes: So, I almost never write to cannon. I almost never write gen or het. I almost never write episode responses but this is all of the above. It’s post Angels and Devils and it’s a scene I hope they do in the opener of season six but probably won’t. At any rate since this is so different from my usual stuff I’d really like a bit of feedback. Pretty, pretty, please.
Colby was allowing himself a slightly lazy morning. He’d gotten to sleep early and as a result had woken early. He’d taken his time with his shower and instead of ordering his coffee to go he had grabbed a table at the coffee shop across from the Federal Building and was drinking coffee out of a proper cup, and eating his breakfast off a real plate almost like a normal human would.
He noticed Charlie picking up coffee, and waved. Charlie waved back and headed over with his own coffee in a take out cup. “Hey Charlie, what brings you to this side of town?”
Charlie helped himself to the seat across from Colby, his face serious. “Actually, I was looking for you. I need a favor.”
“Well it’s not like I don’t owe you a few. What can I do for you?”
Charlie pulled the lid off his take out cup and stared at the coffee swirling it around before taking a deep breath. “I was wondering, could you talk to Amita?”
“Okay,” Colby answered carefully. “About what?”
“I’ve been… After everything that happened... I’ve been trying to keep an eye on her, make sure she’s okay. And when I ask her how she is she says she’s fine. Just fine. Everything’s fine. Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine.”
Colby started getting an idea as to where Charlie was going. “Everything’s not fine.”
Charlie ran his hand over his eyes that seemed more tired than they should. “She has nightmares, says she doesn’t remember them in the morning. I can’t kiss her unless I’m freshly shaved and have gargled Listerine, she showers three times a day, we went out for Chinese the other night, when the waiter put down the rice she just got up and hid in the bathroom for twenty minutes. I can’t even begin to work that one out. I want to take care of her but… Everything’s fine.”
Colby couldn’t say he was entirely surprised by what Charlie was telling him. People came out of even short hostage and kidnapping situations a little messed up. “I hate to say it Charlie but she should probably be talking to a counselor which I am not.”
“I know but… During the Bonnie Parks case, when I was just scared out of my mind, you knew the right things to say, I’d been rendered inert by fear and you got the forward momentum going again.”
“We were in the middle of a case Charlie, we kind of needed you up and running.”
Charlie took a small sip of his coffee. “I have never been put in a chair and had a gun pointed at me. I have read her statement and I know what happened but I wasn’t there, and I can be as sympathetic as I can be but I am never going to come close to understanding what she’s been through. And she knows that.”
“But I have sat in a chair and starred down a gun, among other things.”
“I’m afraid to even touch her Colby. I want to help her and I can’t ‘cause she wont let me and wont admit anything’s wrong and I feel so damn useless.” There was a desperate crack in Charlie’s voice that Colby had only heard a few times.
“Okay, I’ll talk to her.” Colby watched as Charlie’s whole body sagged with relief. “I can’t promise anything, but I’ll try to talk to her.”
Colby reached into the gumball bowl and pulled out a red one. “So you got the gumballs,” Colby said casually as he watched Amita bounce around her office.
“Well they don’t exactly go with the décor of Charlie’s new office.”
“I liked his old office better. There were things to play with.”
“I’m sure his toys will creep back in,” Amita said as she quickly typed something into her laptop then jumped up and started going through files. “Is that why you’re here, to steal gumballs?”
“Actually, I came by to see how you were doing.”
“Me? I’m fine.” Colby could hear the stressed squeak in Amita’s voice.
“No you’re not.” Colby said gently but firmly. If there was one thing he’d learned about geniuses over the last four years it was to forget about subtlety unless you had several hours to kill.
Amita froze, her jaw working a few times. There was a startled fear in her eyes. “I’m fine, Colby.” She finally stated firmly.
“Yeah, sure, you’re fine, just fine, not a thing in the world wrong.”
Colby saw the anger flair. “You don’t…”
“Amita,” Colby cut her off gently. “I’ve been there. I’ve been in a room with a killer with a gun pointed at my head, being told to do stuff I didn’t want to do, and I’ve had training that’s supposed to make that kind of shit manageable but it didn’t, so really, look at me and tell me you’re just fine.”
Colby watched as Amita’s jaw clamped shut and her hands curled into tight tiny fists.
“Come on, sit down.” Colby sat on Charlie’s old couch and patted a cushion. “Talk to me.”
Amita sat stiffly but said nothing, her jaw still locked tight.
“You know I’ll bet you the five bucks in my pocket that I thought the exact same thought on that freighter as you thought in that warehouse at least once. I’ll bet you we both thought the words ‘for fucks sake Charlie figure it out and come get me,’ at least once.” A short giggle that sounded a little closer to tears escaped from between Amita’s lips. “I remember sitting on that boat feeling like Lois Lane thinking ‘help me Superman.’”
Another giggle came out. “I never liked Lois Lane.” Amita said, her voice small and controlled. “Always needing Superman to come save her.”
“Hey, at least you’d look good in a Lois Lane power suit. Me on the other hand, I just don’t have the legs for it.”
A proper burst of laughter came out of Amita then after a few breaths of laughter it morphed into tears.
Amita quickly pressed her fists to her eyes. There was tension vibrating across her whole body as she tried to force back the tears. Colby gently put a hand on her shoulder. “You can cry. It’s okay.”
“I don’t want to,” Amita snarled out, savagely wiping the tears from her eyes. “I won’t let him make me.”
Colby’s heart broke a little. This was going to be harder than he thought. “Everything that happened, it’s not fading like it should, is it? The memories aren’t blurring around the edges like everything else that’s ever happened.” Amita was still for a long time before giving her head a tight shake. “It’s too bad brains aren’t like computers. You can’t just reprogram them. Can’t just select a memory you don’t want and hit delete.”
Another harsh sob tore from Amita’s lips and she wrapped her arms tight around herself.
“Amita, I don’t know if anyone’s mentioned this to you but the other day, you were awesome. You kept your head, you got messages out, you set up two of the crew to get captured, you practically orchestrated your own rescue.” Colby could see Amita begin to relax a bit. “You were amazing...but as long as you keep it all inside you’re still going to be there, and I hate to say it but I’m speaking from experience. Don and Charlie and David and Megan and you, you got my body off that boat but it was a lot harder to get my brain off it, and I didn’t manage that alone either. So whatever happened you’ve got to start letting it out.”
Amita was still and Colby waited. He listened to a clock tick somewhere in the office. He wondered if it was the clock Charlie bought her.
“I can still taste him ‘cause he tried to kiss me.” Amita finally hissed out so softly Colby could barely hear. His stomach rolled and very carefully he took Amita’s hand.
Amita trembled, and chocked, then let go. Colby held her hand as she cried. She didn’t say anything else. The tears just fell and the sobs came in waves that never seemed to stop. They would settle down for a moment then a fresh wave would hit and her whole body would double over and shake. Colby watched as shadows went by the door and hoped that no one would come in.
After maybe ten minutes Amita seemed to settle down a bit. Colby pulled a pack of tissues from his pocket so she could wipe her eyes.
“Thank you.” She whispered then gave a very loud rather unladylike sniff as she tried to wipe her face.
“How do you feel?” Colby asked quietly.
“Like shit.” Amita replied rather bluntly.
“Fair enough.” Colby took a breath. “Would you let me do something for you?”
“There’s someone I know, he mostly works through the VA. He’s the guy who stuck my head back together after Lancer did what he did. Would you let me call him for you?”
Amita tensed up and began to pull away. “Colby, I don’t know if... it’s all really fresh and...”
“You don’t have to talk about anything, no commitment to buy, I’d just like you to meet him. And for what it’s worth he’s pretty results oriented. His theory is any more than four sessions and he’s not doing his job right.” The tiniest smile pulled at Amita’s lips for a flash of a moment. “Please.” Colby tried to convey how worried he and everyone else were in that one word.
Amita sagged in on herself. “Okay.” Her voice was small again.
Amita chewed at her lip a bit. It was something he’d never seen her do before. “Could you do something for me?” Amita asked after a few moments.
“Can you teach me how to shoot?”
Colby’s brain froze for a second. That was the last thing he expected Amita to ask, yet at the same time he realized that it was a pretty understandable request considering the circumstances. “You want to start carrying a gun?”
Amita shook her head quickly. “No. No. It’s just... There were all these guns there and I realized that even if I somehow got my hands on one I wouldn’t have known how to shoot it, or reload, or find a safety...”
“Okay, sure. I can take you through basic weapons handling, but Charlie’s got to be there too.”
Amita gave a very confused look. “Why?”
“‘Cause you don’t teach another guy’s girl how to shoot if he’s not there. It’s just a thing.”
“Oh you have got to be kidding me.”
“It’s just one of those guy rules. Way too much can get read into a shooting lesson.”
Amita rolled her eyes “Guy’s and their phallic symbols. Okay, fine, I’ll ask Charlie.”
“And it’s not like he’s not a good shot himself. From what I hear he’s pretty unstoppable with a Glock and a can of Cheez Whiz.”
Amita laughed a proper laugh. “You know he drank two whole bottles of Pepto then ate an entire lemon meringue pie when he got home after that.”
“If he managed not to throw up on his shoes then he got through his first fire fight better than I got through mine.”
Amita chuckled then the room fell silent.
“Can I give you a hug?” Colby asked to break the silence.
Amita looked a little confused. “Okay.” She answered carefully.
Colby pulled her in to what he hopped was a friendly hug and gave her a good squeeze then let go.
“Sorry, I’ve been wanting to do that since we got you out but I figured Charlie pretty much had dibs.”
A proper smile broke across Amita’s face and Colby couldn’t help just how happy he was to see it. “I hate to say it but as happy as I was to see Charlie, opening my eyes and seeing Don standing over me in TAC gear, back lit by the sun, was one of the best things I’ve ever seen. I knew it was all over ‘cause Don was standing there just looking completely cool.”
Colby gave a snort. “I remember waking up in the hospital to Don looking at me. If I recall his look was less cool and more exhaustion mixed with mild suspicion.”
“You’d taken us on a bit of a ride, Colby. You can’t exactly blame him.”
“No. No I can’t. But still. I knew you guys were coming for me.”
Amita waved her arms in the air. “Help me Superman.”
Colby cracked up. “Pretty much.” He took one of Amita’s hands. “You’re going to be okay.”
“Is that a promise?” She asked softly.
“Yeah, that’s a promise.”